Wisbech Rugby Club boss Cliff Humphreys insists his side are back where they belong as they prepare to kick-start their season.

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The Harecroft Road outfit were relegated from London North-East Division Three during the 2010/11 season which said them deducted 13 points for fielding an ineligible player.

However, they bounced back, through the play-offs, at the first time of asking and Humphreys admits he can’t wait for the visit of Harlow tomorrow.

“Had we not lost those points we wouldn’t have been playing catch-up rugby and we would have ended up about fifth,” he said.

“We went up behind Cantabs (Cantabrigian) and we weren’t that far behind them so I feel we’re back where we belong. The names haven’t really changed too much so we have plenty of players who can more than compete at this level.

“We need to beat Harlow. If we win, it gets the people of Wisbech on our side early, and it should help convince some players, who are still thinking about their future, to stay with the us.”

Coach Ben McCall has left the club. Captain Tom Long and vice-skipper Shane Vickers have stepped down from their roles during the close season. Humphreys will be assisted by new captain David Wadsley and vice-skipper Andy Claydon.

Jon Turner and Long are not available for Harlow’s visit while Phil Martell and Graham Saunders have left the club. Mark Laws has re-joined after a brief stint with Peterborough Lions. Jack Smith had signed from Ludlow.

Elsewhere, West Norfolk boss Nigel Richardson expects a reaction from his players as they begin their league campaign this weekend on the back of a 55-0 drubbing at Norwich.

Wests were deservedly hammered by higher-level Norwich at the weekend in the first round of the Norfolk Cup.

And a fired-up Richardson wants a response as his side host Newmarket in their first Greene King Eastern Counties Division One game of the season on Saturday.

He said: “It was pretty evident they were a league higher than us but there weren’t many positives from the game for us.

“I didn’t scream and shout as I didn’t think it would be constructive. Most of the lads know they let themselves down. We learnt a lot and we need to man up. We’re looking for a positive start at the weekend.

“There should be a big crowd and the lads know they will have to perform 100 times better than they did on Saturday.”

Ted Moore has returned to the club this summer while winger Joe Butt, who is not in the weekend squad, has switched from football to rugby to join Wests.

Alex Singleton, Christian May, Ollie Denton and debutants Henry Rust, 17, and Fijian Tui Ulallasi are expected to feature.

Richardson admits “very influential” flanker Craig Edwards’ absence, after deciding to join the army, will be a “big miss” this term.

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